Little Turtle tells a Story

“Wouldn’t it be nice if we all just slowed down once in a while?”

Every day at school, Little Turtle watched his friends zoom past. He would try to say “Good morning” to his friends, but they moved so fast he never finished the word “Good” before they were gone and he was left to finish the “morning” all by himself.

Little Rabbit would thump thump thump toward Little Turtle, causing a dust storm to billow behind him. Little Turtle would get ready, open his mouth and slowly say, “Good” just as one fast food slapped the ground in front of him.

Little Bird would flit flit flit his wings as he dipped and dove through the air. Little Turtle would look up and open his mouth and start to slowly say, “Good” just in time to get a blast of air up his nose from Little Bird’s wings.

Little Fox would swish swish swish his tail as he dodged left and right. When Little Turtle saw the swishing tail in the distance, he would step into Fox’s path and slowly say, “Good” just in time to see Little Fox swish and dodge right around him.

The teacher saw this happen every day and encouraged the other students to play with Little Turtle.

“He’s too quiet,” Little Rabbit said.

“He’s too small,” Little Bird said.

“He’s too slow,” Little Fox said.

Day after day, the teacher would ask them to play with Little Turtle and they would say the same things about him. One day it was Little Turtle’s turn for show-and-tell. The other students hated it when Little Turtle had show-and-tell because he was so quiet, small and slow. It took forever for him to show his special item and tell the story to the class.

But today was different.

Little Turtle brought out a pot of tea and some small tea cups. He slowly set the tea cups on the desks of Little Rabbit, Little Bird and Little Fox. Then he poured steaming hot tea into the tea cups from a beautiful old porcelain tea pot. Once he had finished pouring, he returned to the front of the classroom, poured himself a cup, and slowly said, “Please enjoy your tea.”

The students quickly grabbed their tea cups.

“It’s too hot!” They all said as they set their cups back down.

Little Turtle smiled a slow happy kind of smile and said, “I’d like to tell you a story.”

Little Rabbit blew on his tea.

“When your tea is finished,” Little Turtle said, “the story will be finished.”

Little Bird fluttered her wings above her tea cup.

“Once, there was a little turtle,” Little Turtle said.

Little Fox swished his tail over his tea.

“And he had the very best of friends,” Little Turtle said.

Little Rabbit sipped his tea, “Yum!” He whispered.

“His friends were a rabbit, a bird and a fox,” Little Turtle said.

“Just like us!” Little bird said as she pecked at her tea.

“Every day the turtle loved to watch his friends play,” Little Turtle said.

Little Fox was holding his tea cup in his hands and resting it on his tummy as he listened to Little Turtle. He took a small sip. “Delicious!” he whispered.

“But he didn’t play with them,” Little Turtle said, “or even get to say ‘Good morning,’ to them.”

“Because he’s too quiet?” Little Rabbit asked, whispering into his tea.

“Because he’s too small?” Little Bird tweeted, sitting on the edge of her tea cup.

“Because he’s too slow?” Little Fox questioned, still holding his full tea cup.

“Because,” Little Turtle said, “his friends were too fast.”

Then Little Turtle lifted his own tea cup and took a long slow sip.

Nobody seemed to mind.

“Wouldn’t it be nice,” Little Turtle asked in a quiet small slow voice that everyone heard perfectly, “if we all just slowed down, once in a while?”

His friends all smiled and nodded as they took quiet small slow sips from their tea cups.

Finally, the teacher spoke. “Perhaps, Little Turtle could bring a pot of tea again tomorrow?”

“Yes!” all the students said.

“And,” Fox added, “tell us another story!”

Everyone sipped their tea.

“I would love that,” Little Turtle said. “You’re the best friends, ever!”

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